Browsing Medical Oncology by Subjects
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Hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer.There is evidence that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may both stimulate and inhibit breast cancers, giving rise to a spectrum of activities, which are frequently hard to understand. Here we summarise the evidence for these paradoxical effects and, given the current data, attempt to give an indication where it may or may not be appropriate to prescribe HRT.It is clear that administration of oestrogen-progestin (E-P) and oestrogen alone (E) HRT is sufficient to stimulate the growth of overt breast tumours in women since withdrawal of HRT results in reduction of proliferation of primary tumours and withdrawal responses in metastatic tumours. E-P, E including tibolone are associated with increased local and distant relapse when given after surgery for breast cancer. For women given HRT who do not have breast cancer the only large randomised trial (WHI) of E-P or E versus placebo has produced some expected and also paradoxical results. E-P increases breast cancer risk as previously shown in observational studies. Risk is increased, particularly in women known to be compliant. Conversely, E either has no effect or reduces breast cancer risk consistent with some but not all observational studies. Two observational studies report a decrease or at least no increase in risk when E-P or E are given after oophorectomy in young women with BRCA1/2 mutations. Early oophorectomy increases death rates from cardiovascular and other conditions and there is evidence that this may be reversed by the use of E post-oophorectomy. HRT may thus reduce the risk of breast cancer and other diseases (e.g., cardiovascular) in young women and increase or decrease them in older women.
Uptake of risk-reducing surgery in unaffected women at high risk of breast and ovarian cancer is risk, age, and time dependent.PURPOSE: The uptake of risk-reducing surgery in women at increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer is highly variable between countries and centers within countries. We have investigated the rate, timing, and age of uptake of surgery in the northwest of England to report the results after up to 7 years in a Regional Genetics center. METHODS: Uptake was documented in 211 known unaffected BRCA1/2 mutation carriers from 509 families and in 3,515 women at >25% lifetime risk of breast cancer without known mutations. RESULTS: Of the 211 mutation carriers, 40% opted for bilateral risk-reducing mastectomy (BRRM) and 45% underwent bilateral risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (BRRSPO). Uptake of BRRM was significantly related to lifetime risk and age but continued over several years. In women not known to carry a BRCA mutation, 6.4% of women at 40% to 45% lifetime risk, 2.5% of women at 33% to 39% lifetime risk, and 1.8% of women at 25% to 32% lifetime risk underwent BRRM (P < 0.005). BRRSPO uptake was greater in BRCA1 (52%) than BRCA2 (28%) carriers but in both groups tended to occur within the first 2 years after gene test (except in the youngest age group) and in women between the ages of 35 and 45. CONCLUSION: To truly assess the uptake of risk-reducing surgery, longer-term follow-up is necessary particularly in younger women who are likely to delay BRRSPO. Careful risk counseling does seem to influence women's decisions for surgery, although the effect is not immediate.